Lecture Series on Resilience

Lecture Series

Resilience Assessment of Complex Systems as a Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention and Disaster Management

General Contents and Aims

The aim of the course is to analyze the resilience concept from different perspectives involving various research areas and interests of applications of the multidisciplinary PhD program in “Security, Risk and Vulnerability”.

The course comprises:

  • A theoretical part aimed to introduce the basic formulations, definitions, indicators and dimensions that typically characterize a “resilience study”.

  • Thematic seminars focusing on examples of resilience studies from various perspectives (engineering, social, managerial, law, cyber-security) and related to different hazardous events (seismic action, extreme meteorological events, cyber-attacks, ...).

The seminars will also illustrate the types of actions that may be carried out to improve the resilience of a system in various phases as:

  • before the disastrous event, that is in the ordinary period in which preparedness interventions should be made in order to reduce the vulnerabilities and increase the community inclusion in the preparation process;

  • during the disastrous event, that is a hot period just after the occurrence of a catastrophic event, which may last for few days or even months, depending on the type of event and its intensity;

  • after the disastrous event, that is the period needed to recover a new ordinary period. The recovery/reconstruction period may be faster and more effective through the adoption of appropriate solutions and the direct involvement of the community and societal stakeholders.

The course is scheduled via the MS Teams platform.

For information send an email to: serena.cattari@unige.it

Introductory Theoretical Part

Monday, April 26 15:00 -18:00

A reference framework for addressing disaster resilience studies

Serena Cattari, Associate Professor, DICCA, University of Genova

Resilience is a broad and multidisciplinary subject and measuring it is one of the most challenging tasks due to the complexity involved in the process. In the seminar, the terminology, indicators, dimensions and metrics usually adopted in resilience studies are introduced to establish a unified framework, applicable to various research area, and introduce the concepts of “community resilience” .

Various applications from available literature studies will be presented (including infrastructure networks, portfolio of buildings, strategic functions) that are the basis of life and economy of every community.

In the last part of seminar, the key points to improve the resilience of urban systems when subjected to high seismic hazard will be discussed in order to provide a first practical application of resilience studies. To this aim, tools to support the design of preparedness interventions before the seismic event, the emergency management and the recovery/reconstruction time will be illustrated. Emphasis will be given to the different urban functions for highlighting the strong multidisciplinary character of the topic. To this aim, the safety of the settlement life itself, the protection of the buildings and infrastructures that compose it and the preservation of the social identity of the urban system will be considered in a unified framework.

Thematic Seminars

Resilience an engineering perspective

Thursday, 29 April 15:00-17:00

Natural slopes exposed to landslide risk: how to make them resilient?

Riccardo Berardi, Associate Professor and Rossella Bovolenta, Researcher, DICCA – University of Genova

One of the most common strategies to mitigate landslide risk of a natural slope is to reduce its vulnerability by means of interventions. Therefore, the slope becomes less susceptible to the event (hazard) whose forecasting in time and space is very difficult on a probabilistic basis. The resilience of a slope exposed to landslides is the ability to recover from consequences of the hazard (landslide) in an effective manner. A slope can only be partially "self-resilient" (a slope reduction or the growth of new vegetation can be examples of self-resilience): anthropogenic interventions, if proper and well executed, combined with a better knowledge and awareness of the issues pertinent to landslide risk, can both increase post-event resilience and reduce pre-event vulnerability. Necessarily, in broad terms, the seminar deals with these topics.

Wednesday, May 5 17:00-19:30

Monte-Carlo Modelling of Tornado Losses and Resilience of Residential Homes

Djordje Romanic, Assistant Professor, McGill University, Canada

Tornadoes are rapidly rotating columns of air that stretch from the surface to the parent thunderstorm cloud. Velocities in strongest tornadoes can exceed 120 m s–1 (432 km h–1), which are the highest observed wind speeds close to the surface. As such, tornadoes are capable of inflicting significant damages to individuals, communities, the economy, and the environment. For example, in 2011 tornadoes in the United States caused US$27 billion of insured property loss, which is about five times the loss generated by hurricane Irene—the most damaging hurricane that occurred in the same year. This presentation will describe a statistical approach developed for the modelling of tornado losses using Monte Carlo simulations. The developed model is applied to one- and two-family residential houses in the states of Oklahoma and Kansas in the United States. Using the Monte Carlo approach, the model combines the historical catalogue of tornadoes above these two states with the exposure map and the vulnerability & fragility functions that provide an engineering link between the natural phenomena and the inflicted damage. In addition to simulated of tornado tracks, the results will also be presented in terms of the aggregated and occurrence tornadic losses for different return periods. The adaptability of the model to Italy—that received over 1500 tornadoes in the period 2000/2020—will also be discussed.

Friday, May 21 14:30-16:30

Innovative solutions to support the urban flood resilience

Ilaria Gnecco, Associate Professor and Anna Palla, Researcher, DICCA – University of Genova

The seminar deals with the topics relating to the urban resilience to flooding and illustrates the main principles of the sustainable management of storm water in urban areas. In building the urban resilience to flooding, the design of sustainable urban drainage (SUD) systems involves an overall strategy finalized to mitigation of hydraulic risk, protection of ecosystems and improvement of liveability in urban areas. In details, the seminar illustrates the design principles of the technical components of SUD systems as green roofs, permeable pavements, etc. and the description of innovative techniques as Decision Support System (DSS) to support the widespread implementation of these systems at the catchment scale.

Resilience a managerial perspective

Tuesday, May 11 9:00 - 12:00

Organizational Resilience

Diego Campagnolo, Associate Professor, Martina Gianecchini, Associate Professor, University of Padova

The increasing frequency of high-impact/low probability events (such as coronavirus pandemic) draws attention on the complexity of our social and business systems. Surviving in such conditions requires resilience i.e., the “ability to anticipate potential threats, to cope effectively with adverse events, and to adapt to changing conditions” (Ducheck 2020: 220). The concept of resilience has developed over the years along complementary research streams on the basis of different units of analysis: individual, team, organization and network levels. Such levels, albeit distinct, are intertwined. Research on individual resilience has focused on its conceptualization - as an individual fixed trait, a dynamic capacity, and/or a process enabling positive adaptation after adversity - and on its antecedents and outcomes. However, individuals do not live in a vacuum (Sharma & Sharma 2016) and the environment in which one is embedded can shape the possibility to translate into practice those capacities (Gucciardi et al. 2018). As a consequence, in the last few years, an increasing level of attention has been devoted to the concept of team resilience. Adverse events generate stress and disrupt the flow of activities routinely performed within teams, thereby exerting a detrimental effect on decision-making (Driskell & Salas 1991), satisfaction and cooperation (Roelofs et al. 2005). Given the high level of interdependence between team members, any response to adversities requires coordination between them (Stoverink et al. 2020). Thus, team characteristics (e.g., psychological safety, social learning), can support (or prevent) workers in developing individual resilience (Hartwig et al. 2020). Individuals and teams operate into companies, which organizational resilience is improved by simultaneously enhancing a firm’s planning and adaptation capabilities (McManus et al. 2008). Planning entails adopting an active waiting approach of preparation for potential threats via formal or informal strategies (Herbane 2015). Conversely, adaptation leverages on financial slacks and leadership traits (Ayala & Manzano 2014), motivation of the employees and social capital of the firm (Gittel et al. 2006) as well as organizational design and governance mechanisms that promote broader information processing and the loosening of control (Mamouni et al. 2014). Organizational resilience is enhanced if organizations are equipped with effective processes of organizational learning both from its own past experience or from the experience of others (Grandori 2020). Studies on the network resilience are relatively few and recent: they emerged only after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, that marked a shift of attention from the design of a reliable organization to the ability to cope with environmental uncertainty. Specifically, these studies investigate the resilience of supply chains (Linnenluecke 2017). They emphasize that networks enable information sharing, the development of a shared strategy, and the mobilization of relational resources that facilitate resilience at the organizational level (Hillmann & Guenther 2020), mitigating the adverse effects of a crisis (Williams et al. 2017). The objective of the seminar is to discuss the concept of organizational resilience, its main antecedents and outcomes and is aimed at offering an overview of the research topics that need further theoretical and empirical investigation.

Resilience a law perspective

Thursday, May 13 9:00 - 11:00

Unforeseeable change of circumstances and the duty to contract renegotiation

Giorgio Afferni, Associate Professor, DIGI, University of Genova

“Pacta sunt servanda” is one of the fundamental principles in contract law. As a general rule, parties are bound to the contract and may not terminate it or impose to the other party its renegotiation. However, under very special circumstances, some national laws request from the contract parties the renegotiation of contract in good faith in order to recover the original balance of rights and obligations, or facilitate such renegotiation. The goal of the seminar is to explore how the contract law doctrines of commercial impracticability and of unforeseeable change of circumstances may be used to allow the parties of a contract to deal efficiently with unforeseeable risks, avoiding the disruption costs caused by the manifestation of such risks.

Resilience a socio-political perspective

Tuesday, May 18 11:00 - 14:00

Resilience and the EU Global Strategy

Fabrizio Coticchia, Associate Professor, DISPO, University of Genova

The seminar, which relies on the current scholarly debate in EU politics, Security Studies and International relations, focuses on the role played by the concept of resilience within the EU foreign and defense policy. Specifically, the seminar examines the EUGS - European Union Global Strategy where, moving away “from a narrative of democratisation at any cost”, the EU emphasized the need to adopt a “resilience-centred approach”. The EUGSS defined resilience as “the ability of states and societies to reform, thus withstanding and recovering from internal and external crises”.

Some authors have stressed the development of a “new EU common narrative on foreign and security policy”, positively highlighting the attention devoted towards local resources and practices, far from ready-made proposals. Others have viewed resilience as “the perfect middle ground between over-ambitious liberal peacebuilding and the under-ambitious aim of stability”. Finally, some scholars have critically conceived resilience as a vague concept that would have paved the way to de-politicization, underestimating inequality and the structural causes of the crisis.

The seminar will explore such debate, examining the relationship between resilience and other key-concepts of the recent EU foreign and defense policy (e.g., strategic autonomy, principled pragmatism), and highlighting the ways through which the approach has been conceived and implemented on the ground by the EU in order to address the governmental, economic, societal crises beyond borders.

Resilience: a cybersecurity perspective

Friday, May 7 15:00 - 16:00

Resilience in the Avionics and Aerospace domain

Marco Bozzano, Bruno Kessler Foundation, Trento (Italy)

This seminar is an introduction to the topic of resilience in the domains of avionics and aerospace. We discuss the definition of resilience, and the topics of system design for resilience, fault management and fault tolerance. We then review existing safety standards, and we introduce classical techniques for safety assessment, such as hazard analysis, risk assessment and fault tree analysis. We conclude with an overview of the role of formal methods and tool support for safety assessment.

Wednesday, May 26 11:00 - 12:00

Resilience of Cyber-Physical Systems

Armando Tacchella, Full Professor, DIBRIS - University of Genova

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) interconnect the physical world with digital computers and networks in order to automate production and distribution processes. Nowadays, most CPSs do not work in isolation, but their digital part is connected to the Internet in order to enable remote monitoring, control and configuration. Such a connection may offer entry-points enabling attackers to gain control silently and exploit access to the physical world at the right time to cause service disruption and possibly damage to the surrounding environment. Prevention and monitoring measures can reduce the risk brought by cyber attacks, but the residual risk can still be unacceptably high in critical infrastructures or service and thus resilience is a key property for such systems. This seminar presents a research about a model-free, quantitative, and general-purpose evaluation methodology to extract resilience indexes from, e.g., system logs and process data. By using the model of a real wastewater treatment plant, and simulating attacks that tamper with a critical feedback control loop, we provide a comparison between four resilience indexes selected through a literature review involving over 40 papers. Our results show that the selected indexes differ in terms of behaviour and sensitivity with respect to specific attacks, but they can all summarise and extract meaningful information from bulky system logs.